I try not to blame the foot soldiers for how they act. Would I have the guts to tell Putin or Xi that their new clothes aren't what everyone says they are? We all like to think we'd be the hero, but let's face it: By definition the overwhelming majority of us are not.
On a related topic, seems more and more like Putin's strategy from the beginning has been "get the gas; get the oil; get the coal; get the warn water ports," and his tactic was going to be to replace the Kyiv government to get what he wanted. But not he's decided that a better tactic is just to level everything he needs to level to force Ukraine to sue for peace. Biden's claim of a strategic loss for the Russians just looks wrong. A tactical loss for sure, because even Putin would rather accomplish his theft with killing as few people as possible. Who wouldn't? But his strategy seems very much intact. It's up to our government and our allies to make sure the strategic loss takes place, which can only happen when Russia tries to sell its ill-gotten gains. To give that groups of officers the space they need to show Vlad he's got no clothes is going to take a hell of a lot of encouragement from the West. Otherwise, he'll come away vindicated and even stronger than before.